This Modern Horizons 3 Spoiler is the Ultimate Buff for Creatures

Special MH3 preview card for Magic the Gathering - green Lion Umbra

This Modern Horizons 3 Spoiler is the Ultimate Buff for Creatures

Don’t head off for your mid-year holidays just yet, Magic: the Gathering has lined up the year’s biggest release! Modern Horizons 3 goes public on June 14 and follows up on the best-selling Modern Horizons 2, which introduced plenty of powerful cards that are still widely used today. Urza’s Saga, Esper Sentinel and the cycle of Evoke creatures made MH2 a hit, and many fans are expecting MH3 to level up over its predecessor. Thanks to Wizards of the Coast, we’re stoked to present a new preview card for the newest installment – Lion Umbra!

Lion Umbra is an uncommon green card and takes after other umbras, as an Aura Enchantment that is cast onto a creature. It costs 2 green mana, and gives the enchanted creature +3/+3, Vigilance and Reach. If that wasn’t enough, it bears the Umbra Amor keyword (formerly known as Totem Armor), basically giving your creature a one-time protection against being destroyed or dying to lethal damage. 

There is one little drawback to this otherwise powerful Aura. It can only target modified creatures, so it has to be either already enchanted, equipped, or have a counter on it. It’s a small hoop that you’d have to jump through in order to attach Lion Umbra. 

Is Lion Umbra Good Enough for Modern Play?

As Modern Horizons 3 was designed with the Modern format in mind, how relevant is Lion Umbra in an environment where Auras don’t see that much play? 

Mono green Tron would seemingly be the obvious home for Lion Umbra, since it does cost specifically 2 green mana. However Tron decks run a whole lot of Artifacts and pretty much zero Auras or Equipments. Creature count is also very low as it utilises Planeswalkers to lock down the opponent’s game plan. Not only are there few targets for Lion Umbra, it would be virtually impossible to attach it to anything.

In order to overcome Lion Umbra’s restriction of targeting only modified creatures, it’s best to place it in a deck that uses +1/+1 counters in its main strategy. Mono green Hardened Scales is heavy on Artifacts too but is all about placing +1/+1 counters to overpower your opponent’s creatures. Its full load of Arcbound Ravager, Patchwork Automaton and other modified creatures means Lion Umbra targets are easy to come by.

Lion Umbra fits into the overall deck strategy but it does have some drawbacks. Lion Umbra doesn’t buff through +1/+1 counters, so you can’t shift down around using The Ozolith. It might be a challenge to find a space to slot Lion Umbra into a deck that is already filled with key components. It could replace Welding Jar as protection against destroy effects, but Lion Umbra isn’t an Artifact and Welding Jar’s 0 cost is too hard to pass up. 

As Aura-focused decks are few and far between in the Modern scene, Lion Umbra might best be a card for the sideboard. It will certainly do well in casual Commander decks that focus on stacking a ton of Equipment or Auras on a single creature. Lion Umbra’s 2 mana cost is really low, considering the +3/+3 buff and gaining of Vigilance and Reach, a necessary blend for balanced offense and defense. Those decks, helmed by Commanders such as Dogmeat, Ever Loyal (from the recent Fallout), often have a full suite and Equipment and Auras, and Lion Umbra will be among friendly company. 

End Step

Lion Umbra is a worthy addition to the line of Umbra cards, offering a substantial buff and at the same time protection from destroy effects. It’s annoying to deal with, though a simple bounce of the creature or destroying the Aura itself usually solves the problem. In the Modern scene, Lion Umbra is a little out of place right now and it would take some serious shifting of the meta if it is to see competitive play.

Modern Horizons 3 will be able in Play Boosters, Collector Boosters, Bundles and Commander Preconstructed Decks. Prerelease events start on June 7 – find your nearest game store to sign up!

Tap & Sac began as a dream – to see more people play Magic. We love this social and complex game, and one of our missions is to broaden accessibility and inclusiveness. Everyone can have fun in the Gathering.
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